Farmers market lily

Eating local means eating freshly picked, nutrient dense food

By Xaviere Chatagnier

To me, eating local means eating seasonally. It means that your vegetables were probably picked within the last 24 hours and are nutrient dense. It means that vegetables and fruit weren’t picked three weeks ago, didn’t travel thousands of miles or cross any borders. It is said that since locally grown food doesn’t travel across the country, chances for contamination are significantly lower. Eating local is just flat out healthier for us. Luckily, we have the awesome Jasper Farmers Market and several others within an hour’s drive .

So no, it is not tomato season in North Georgia. We want to believe that the farmer grew those tomatoes that you just bought but no, they aren’t locally grown. Heck, my tomato plants are barely 2-feet tall. And though I did buy some nice blueberries at Ingles last week, North Georgia blueberries are still green. Five Sons Farms just sent me a few really nice photos of their blueberry bushes (about 1800 of them) and their heirloom tomato plants. Things are going really nicely at their farm and the blueberries will be plentiful but no, not the season quite yet .

Zach Hensen has all sorts of seasonal vegetables at the market . He plans to sell Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, onions, kale, mushrooms, garlic and eggs . I bought gorgeous fat spring onions from Zach, which is really crazy because I have 300 in my garden! His spring onions were so beautiful that they almost looked like leeks. Heck, I almost bought his lettuce even though I have so much of my own that I can sell. I guess it’s all in the presentation.

Though it rained cats and dogs early on at the market ,we still had great time. Jackie Carlisle had a huge table full of delicious healthy bread . The Johnsons had duck eggs--they went fast—and chicken eggs. Irene sold her amazing pies and cakes. And the plant lady that almost ran me off the road at Main Street had really pretty geraniums and perennials. Yes, we bought plants from her after I stopped choking her.

After buying our vegetables from Zach, we beelined across the way to Jenny Fellenbaum’s tent. Jenny makes the prettiest hand turned wooden candle votives. I was vying for Lily’s lemonade and had to take a photo of her holding her beautiful stenciled pillows . Lily can custom stencil just about anything you want!

Several of our restaurants support our farmers . Chad Mckinney (a Big Canoe son and amazing organic farmers )sold radishes, arugula, lettuce, spinach, garlic scapes and onions to Home Restaurant. I am also selling my lettuce this week to John Lupi .

Last Saturday, 61 Main had another fantastic omelette with local greens.

Eat Local, Shop Local

– Xaviere

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